By Troy Ribeiro
Film: "Boy and the World"; Director: Ale Abreu; Voice Cast: Vinicius Garcia, Marco Aurelio Campos, Lu HOrta, Felipe Zilse, Ale Abreu and Cassius Romero; Rating: ****
Pulsating with a vibrant soundtrack and lovely hand-drawn animation in pencil and crayon colours, cut-outs, oil paint and everything in between, writer-director Ale Abreu's film is not only a simple children's film but one that leaves you spellbound.
Told through amazing visual details of our world, it is a touching story of a small boy and how he views the world passing by while he is searching his father who left their rural home for the big city to find work.
His journey through day and night, from his village to town through seasons et al, gives you an essence of the boy's trials and tribulations, dreams, fears and goals. The narrative is playful yet solemnly serious in its approach.
What begins as an unassuming journey, takes an impressively complex turn that grows to become a relevant commentary, even if it is not really subtle in doing so especially on environmental issues like industrialization, pollution and deforestation.
And although the film is a bit abstract and largely free of dialogues, except for a few occasional gibberish babble that make up for conversations, the film has a universal appeal. It thrives on sweet innocence and the pure ability to see the world truthfully for its dazzling beauty and its man-made dangers.
The animation drawn with the finest ends of an artist's heartstrings and painted with colourful essence of undefeated hope, is a crafty combination of simply drawn characters and ornate geometrical patterns.
The boy in a red striped shirt is a little more than a stick figure. His circular white head with three strands as hair and vertical charcoal-black lines that represent his eyes eerily suggesting a skull, is a crude replica of the people in this cinematic universe.
Visually, the film is sparkling and vivacious like a children's picture book which comes to life with its unimaginably fluid choreography.
Every frame is meticulously hand-drawn and consists of a broad range of styles as the boy explores different stages of life. From a near-empty white screen to a collage of pictures with different hues along with the circular geometric designs used as a metaphor for the circle of life, the film offers a kaleidoscopic view.
What elevates the viewing experience is undoubtedly the film's music that is rendered by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat. The score includes pop and Latino tunes that are infectious, appealing and hauntingly poignant.
Overall, as the crafted world becomes progressively more detailed and overwhelming, the film is a marvel to behold.